WADA says Russia should be banned from athletics

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) published a report on Monday that called for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to suspend Russia from competition.

It said the London 2012 Olympics were “sabotaged” by the “widespread inaction” against Russian athletes with suspicious doping profiles by the the world athletics governing body and the Russian federation.

The investigation by Dick Pound, the former WADA president, has also recommended that five athletes and five coaches be given lifetime doping bans. The report says that Moscow’s anti-doping lab should lose its accreditation.

Pound, who has spent 11 months looking into claims of cheating and cover-up within Russian athletics and the sport’s governing body, has identified “intentional and malicious destruction of more than 1,400 samples by Moscow laboratory officials.”

The report also says there was “sufficient corroborated evidence to conclude that a second laboratory was assisting in the cover-up of positive doping results by way of the destruction of samples.”

Pound said it was probable the doping of athletes had been state-supported: “I don’t see how you could call it anything else,” he said.

“Our conclusion was this couldn’t happen without the knowledge or consent of state authorities. Even though they weren’t running sport, they could not have been unaware.”

“We don’t think Russia is the only country with a doping problem and we don’t think that athletics is the only sport with a doping problem ñ this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

The results were released at the same time that the International Olympic Committee said that the former president of the IAAF Lamine Diack should be provisionally suspended as an honorary member of the IOC.

Diack was arrested last week along with IAAF legal adviser Habib CissÈ and Gabriel DollÈ, the former longstanding head of the IAAF’s anti-doping unit. Prosecutors said they would have arrested Diack’s son and former IAAF marketing consultant, Papa Massata Diack, if he had been in France at the time.

Diack, the IAAF president for 16 years, is accused by French police of accepting more than Ä1m in exchange for covering up positive drug tests.

Pound said he was holding back parts of the report pending the French investigation into IAAF officials but hoped to release more details by the end of the year.

WADA’s recommendations have put the ball back into the court of the IAAF and IOC over what action to take.

German television station ARD had implicated officials in Russia’s athletics federation, anti-doping agency (Rusada) and a WADA-accredited laboratory in Moscow in acts of bribery to hush up positive doping tests, falsify tests and supply banned drugs.

The IAAF’s own independent ethics committee, which has been looking into the Russian claims since the spring of 2014, will conduct hearings in December against Papa Massata Diack, DollÈ, the former IAAF treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev and Alexei Melnikov, the former Russian long-distance head coach.

Interpol has also announced it is to coordinate a global investigation led by France into an alleged international corruption scam involving sports officials as well as athletes suspected of a doping cover-up.

Pound said the report’s findings were a serious bodyblow to the public perception of sport: “The difficulty for all of us is that it doesn’t stop there. The public view will move towards believing all sport is corrupt.

“If you can’t believe results then there is a serious credibility problem. I hope all sports will look at their governance and their anti-doping systems because their existence may be at risk.”